- FTSE closes down 4.81 points to 6,815.75
- Sentiment weighed by Bank Holiday, elections, Ukraine
- US new home sales rise
techMARK 2,758.00 +0.51%
FTSE 100 6,815.75 -0.07%
FTSE 250 15,706.03 +0.20%
It was a negative finish for UK stocks in the final session of the week, with investors focused on the Bank Holiday, European and Ukraine elections, while several stocks retreated from gains seen earlier in the week.
The FTSE 100 ended the final session of the week 4.81 points lower at 6,815.75.
David Madden, Market Analyst at IG, said: "Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is stubbornly in the red, even as most markets gain in the final session before the bank holiday weekend.
"Although off the lows, the FTSE 100 is opting out of a global move higher for a second consecutive day. A long weekend, pending euro election results and some Ukraine-related worries have combined to keep risk appetite at bay, while the less than stellar arrival of Saga on the London market has dampened sentiment as well.
Saga completed its initial public offering today, although the performance of the shares
was rather disappointing, rising only 0.5p from their 185p starting price.
In banking news, RBS/NatWest customers suffered another technical problem leaving mobile banking users unable to access their accounts for a period of around six hours.
Over at Barclays investors shrugged off a £26m fine related to gold price setting.
It was a quiet day on the UK macro front, with the focus firmly on company news and events in the rest of the world.
Looking at the wider picture across Europe, CMC Markets's Jasper Lawler noted that "uncertainty over the birth of four-party politics in the UK as well as low volumes ahead of the holiday weekend meant the FTSE 100 lagged European counterparts on what was generally fairly flat trading."
In Germany, first quarter GDP was confirmed at 0.8%, much of which was attributed to the mild winter, which as Lawler explained, is "thought to have driven consumers to the shops earlier than usual which drove up growth despite a drop in exports".
Putin says he will respect results of Ukrainian elections
Speaking at an economic conference in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the outcome of Ukraine´s presidential elections this Sunday, according to BBC reports.
Putin added that it is his belief the country has entered into "full-scale civil war".
US new home sales hit 6.4%
Over in the States, existing home sales rose by 6.4% to reach an annualised rate of 433,000 last month, according to the US Department of Commerce. The consensus estimate had been for an increase to 425,000.
The estimate for the previous month was revised higher, to a rate of 407,000, from the preliminary estimate of 384,000.
In Capital Economics's view, "alongside yesterday's modest rise in existing home sales, the data indicate that there is still life in the US housing recovery".
"The net result is that the new homes market is now thought to have suffered a far less dramatic wobble in the early stages of this year than had previously been thought," it explained, although added that looking at the bigger picture, the figures are "historically low"".
BG Group, Burberry lead FTSE lower
BG Group was at the bottom of the pile, extending yesterday's losses which came despite positive news about a well it holds a stake in in Brazil. The weakness may be related to Grupo Santander downgrading the stock to 'hold' earlier in the week.
SABMiller retreated following yesterday's strong rise, which came on the back of a strong set of annual results.
The group posted a 2% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to $5,712, while the dividend was increase to 105 cents, up from 101 cents a year earlier.
Sector peer Diageo tracked the stock lower.
Burberry led the personal goods sector lower following gains earlier this week after it posted a 17% rise in annual revenue to £2.3bn, boosted by strong retail sales. The luxury fashion house reported adjusted pre-tax profit of £461m in the year to end of March 2014, up 8% on the previous year.
Numis sent Intertek firmly lower after cutting its rating to 'hold' from 'buy', and lowering its target price from 3,782p to 3,100p.
Meanwhile, platinum producer Anglo American jumped after it was announced that its subsidiary, Amplats, was continuing to engage in supervised mediation with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the Labour Court in a bid to end workers' strike action.
London Stock Exchange also raced ahead after Goldman Sachs upgraded it from 'sell' to 'neutral'.
IG's madden noted that "the day has seen the return of some buying in AstraZeneca, following Blackrock's call for détente between the two pharma firms that has given the boost to talk that discussions might restart sooner than anticipated".
FTSE 100 - Risers
Mondi (MNDI) 1,080.00p +2.66%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,852.00p +2.38%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,573.50p +2.31%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 865.50p +1.70%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 799.00p +1.65%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 75.96p +1.54%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,572.00p +1.42%
Barclays (BARC) 246.60p +1.27%
Royal Mail (RMG) 525.50p +1.25%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,328.00p +1.24%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,967.00p -1.75%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,503.00p -1.70%
BG Group (BG.) 1,213.50p -1.66%
Next (NXT) 6,550.00p -1.65%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,321.00p -1.42%
G4S (GFS) 251.50p -1.33%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,327.50p -1.32%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 846.00p -1.28%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,178.00p -1.26%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 841.00p -1.23%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,113.00p +8.97%
BTG (BTG) 582.00p +6.40%
Lonmin (LMI) 261.40p +5.40%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,020.00p +3.66%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 310.20p +2.72%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,078.00p +2.67%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 307.90p +2.63%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 266.40p +2.50%
National Express Group (NEX) 275.80p +2.22%
Greencore Group (GNC) 280.50p +2.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
esure Group (ESUR) 249.50p -2.65%
Rank Group (RNK) 156.10p -2.44%
CSR (CSR) 553.50p -2.12%
SIG (SHI) 182.00p -1.73%
Unite Group (UTG) 406.90p -1.71%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,632.00p -1.69%
ITE Group (ITE) 233.70p -1.68%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 915.50p -1.66%
Halfords Group (HFD) 480.00p -1.64%
Genus (GNS) 1,063.00p -1.48%